Technicians from Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited work on a new natural gas-powered plant at Kinyerezi in Dar es Salaam in July 2014. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Zuberi Mussa DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Despite facing a direct threat from climate change, Tanzania plans to rely heavily on coal and natural gas for its future energy needs as the country strives to develop its economy.
The east African nation has suffered from a growing energy deficit in the last several years, caused partly by recurring droughts that have crippled hydropower capacity. Critics say the government has mostly failed to tap the country’s other renewable energy potential to help bridge the power gap.
In June this year, the government launched its 2014-2025 Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap, under which it aims to increase electricity generation from 1,583 megawatts (MW) to 10,800 MW in the next 10 years.
Key to the strategy is a diversification of power generation sources to include much more natural gas and to introduce coal. Two-thirds of the country’s projected total energy capacity will come from coal and natural gas by the end of the plan, it shows.
Currently, natural gas accounts for about one-third of Tanzania’s electricity generation, with hydropower and liquid fossil fuel contributing in roughly equal measures to the balance.
Hydropower capacity is projected nearly to quadruple but will make up only 19 percent of the mix by 2025. Wind, solar and geothermal will together generate just 500 MW, less than 5 percent, according to the plan.
While natural gas discoveries off the county’s southern coast offer prospects for economic growth and a stable energy supply that would end decades of electricity shortages, experts say increasing use of fossil fuels, especially coal, will double the country’s emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, contributing to more extreme weather and other problems.
“The use of coal for industrial production will undoubtedly cause irreparable damage to the environment,” said Riziki Kajule, an environmental expert from the Dar es Salaam Association of Environmental Engineers.
“Policy makers need to carefully think about it and assess what would be the impact before they decide to use it on a larger scale,” he said.
Besides its effect on the stability of the global climate, Kajule said coal releases pollutants such as acid rain-inducing sulfur dioxide which could harm the environment. Mining also often destroys trees and other plants, and topsoil, he said.
Tanzania has reserves of coal estimated to total 5 billion tonnes. Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s minister for energy and minerals, said that the government, through the state-owned power utility, TANESCO, plans to generate 2,900 MW of power from coal by 2025.
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NBTrader and Digital Look.
While London South East do their best to maintain the high quality of the information displayed on this site,
we cannot be held responsible for any loss due to incorrect information found here. All information is provided free of charge, 'as-is', and you use it at your own risk.
The contents of all 'Chat' messages should not be construed as advice and represent the opinions of the authors, not those of London South East Limited, or its affiliates.
London South East does not authorise or approve this content, and reserves the right to remove items at its discretion.